Galaxy S 4 - Powered by a Better Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064AB)?

At a high level, Samsung's Galaxy S 4 integrates Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 SoC. From what Qualcomm told us about Snapdragon 600, we're dealing with four Krait 300 cores and an Adreno 320 GPU. The Krait 300 cores themselves are supposed to improve performance per clock over the original Krait CPU (Krait 200) through a handful of low level microarchitectural tweaks that we've gone through here. The Krait 300 design also allegedly improves the ability to run at higher frequencies without resorting to higher voltages. This isn't the first time we've talked about Snapdragon 600, but since then a few things have come to light.


Snapdragon 600 from HTC One - Chipworks

For starters, Chipworks got their hands on a Snapdragon 600 SoC (from an HTC One) and delayered the SoC. In its investigation, Chipworks discovered that Snapdragon 600 had the exact same die area as the previous generation Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064). Also, although you'd expect APQ8064T markings on the chip itself, the part carried the same APQ8064 label as previous S4 Pro designs. 


Avenger 2 Markings on Snapdragon 600 die from HTC One - Chipworks

Chipworks did note however that there were some subtle differences between a standard APQ8064 and the Snapdragon 600 SoC from the HTC One. The Snapdragon 600 from the One is labeled with an Avenger2 codename rather than Avenger, the latter was apparently present on prior APQ8064 designs. Chipworks also noticed differences in the topmost metal layer, although it's not clear whether or not they stopped there or found no differences in lower layers.

All of this points to a much more subtle set of physical differences between APQ8064 and the earliest Snapdragon 600s. Metal layer changes are often used to fix bugs in silicon without requiring a complete respin which can be costly and create additional delays. It's entirely possible that Krait 300 was actually just a bug fixed Krait 200, which would explain the identical die size and slight differences elsewhere.

That brings us to the Galaxy S 4. It's immediately apparent that something is different here because Samsung is shipping the Snapdragon 600 at a higher frequency than any other OEM. The Krait 300 cores in SGS4 can run at up to 1.9GHz vs. 1.7GHz for everyone else. Curiously enough, 1.9GHz is the max frequency that Qualcomm mentioned when it first announced Snapdragon 600.

Samsung is obviously a very large customer, so at first glance we assumed it could simply demand a better bin of Snapdragon 600 than its lower volume competitors. Looking a bit deeper however, we see that the Galaxy S 4 uses something different entirely.

APQ8064 from a Snapdragon 600 based HTC One - Chipworks

Digging through the Galaxy S 4 kernel source we see references to an APQ8064AB part. As a recap, APQ8064 was the first quad-core Krait 200 SoC with no integrated modem, more commonly referred to as Snapdragon S4 Pro. APQ8064T was supposed to be its higher clocked/Krait 300 based successor that ended up with the marketing name Snapdragon 600. APQ8064AB however is, at this point, unique to the Galaxy S 4 but still carries the Snapdragon 600 marketing name.

If we had to guess, we might be looking at an actual respin of the APQ8064 silicon in APQ8064AB. Assuming Qualcomm isn't playing any funny games here, APQ8064AB may simply be a respin capable of hitting higher frequencies. We'll have to keep a close eye on this going forward, but it's clear to me that the Galaxy S 4 is shipping with something different than everyone else who has a Snapdragon 600 at this point.

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  • xaml - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    This is one beautiful device, if you can't see that and you're trying to blame the materials for it, I'm sorry but it shows. Reply
  • Random Kkkkk - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    " what will probably be 2013's most popular smartphone" Did you somehow forget about Apples iPhone 5? You can't be serious if you think this will outsell it considering the iPhone 5 has had a quarter of sales already. Reply
  • Spikey01 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    There is a difference between popular and units sold...
    The S4 will be a huge sucess!!
    Reply
  • medi02 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    Check charts on these page:
    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/16/apple-iphon...

    Galaxy is only slightly behind iphone sales, on the other hand, its sales were doubling with every release.
    Reply
  • puremind - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Brian, what color meter do you use for display checks? The color temperature on the HTC One in your comparison seems like an overestimation. In my measurements, it should be 7200K for the Taiwan factory (serial numbers starting with HT) and 6670K for the Argentina factory (serial number starting with FA).
    It does not change the results, though, seeing as all your phones are measured with the same color meter, this is still a fair comparison.
    Just to give you an idea, on the HTC One, the Eye One Display Pro overstimates color temperature by up 500K depending on the spectral profile used, the Spyder 4 usually overestimates even more.
    When I look at the color temperature values for the other LCD phones, it also looks to me like there is a 500K overestimation as well compared to what I have seen elsewhere. This is also why we see wild fluctuations of color temperature across all reviews.
    Could you maybe post the first two letters of the serial number of your HTC One unit, as it could be yet another factory with a different screen calibration. Either way I am curious about this.
    Of course even a spectro like the i1 Pro 2 has a temperature shift of up to 300K upwards depending the point of initialization. Again, the comparision still holds because the same method and instrument was used for all phones, and usually even if some color meters have errors in color temperature readings, the rest of the spectrum is usually read correctly on those newer devices.
    Reply
  • mike 3283 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    ok people just to shut all of of you up about the aluminum htc one. samsung is already in the works making their next phones metal.including a metal s4 later this year. and also dustproof and waterproof s4 too. So when the phone that's better in every way already except it's plastic will murder the htc. listen the s4 is selling ten million units to htc's 2 million. So wait till the s4 is metal. then what? then everyone who gets the htc now will be wishing they hadn't. come on the s4 is way ahead of htc. it has so much more to offer. all the extra features and gorilla glass3 which is way stronger and ddr3 memory which is faster and uses less power. all the accessories coming out for the s4. expansion of memory and removable battery. and not to mention the repairability of the s4 kills the htc. if you break anything on the one you are screwed. there's no replacing a cracked screen. if you even try to take the glass off you will ruin the phone. check out the review on ifixit for the htc. worst rated phone to repair ever. s4 rated easiest to repair. htc tried but failed. and anyone who says they are buying the metal htc because it's more durable is an idiot. they are buying it so they can brag to their friends and say look at my phone. it's htc. it's just a boring phone with no wow factor except the body which is useless. their blinkfeed is a ripoff of Windows tiles and flipboard both of which are better. as far as phones go htc has high end hardware but anyone can put that on phone. there are all kinds of companies that have the same stuff as htc coming out on their phones. but samsung at least has innovations with that hardware. That's why they will flat out sell htc 5 to 1 if not more.in fact they are probably going to beat iphone sales for a 3 month period. New record coming and its plastic. OMG! HTC ONE will fail just like every other htc that had ever tried. they just don't have what it takes. and their stupid speakers on the front ate worthless. nobody ever listens to their phone out loud or if they do its for a very short time. in headphones is where it matters and s4 has a wolfson chip which is the best sound chip in the biz. So as a conclusion s4 wins htc loses. That's life. htc one x failed to the s3 so how well this be any different. it won't it will be even worse. Reply
  • fackamato - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Do you have to try really hard to write such useless, false and unreadable posts or does it come naturally to you? Reply
  • bhima - Saturday, April 27, 2013 - link

    It isn't just the fit and finish of the htc one... the camera is the most useful camera in real world lighting scenarios. If it had a removeable battery, I'd have already bought it. Reply
  • gaasedal - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Thanks Samsung for keeping the plastic back plate:) I don't care if it is plastic, alu or paper, as long it is light weighted. I have an HTC Desire HD and I don't want a heavy smartphone again, and I want to insert a 64GB MicroSD card and I want to be able to change the battery.
    SG4 is better than HTC One in all parts.
    On monday I will have a new SG4 :)
    Reply
  • Roy2001 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    No plastic and AMOLED which SUCKS. Reply

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